Not one of us anticipated the pandemic that faced us in the late winter, early spring of 2020. Needless to say, it has presented countless challenges and has changed things.
After a long process, with a bit of a hiccup, we finally got a new Public Health Director on board for San Miguel County in February 2020. Grace Franklin joined our team – and almost immediately we were all thrown into unknown territory.
As a hot-spot county – which most of the counties with mountain town resorts were in Colorado, we were incredibly vulnerable. We came out with strict guidelines and were in a fairly tight shut-down mode early on, all with the focus on keeping our communities safe.
We looked to our citizens to help with ideas and to work together with us to accomplish this. As of mid-September our county has zero deaths – and has experience zero new cases in the last few weeks. This is a huge accomplishment.
That is not without its challenges or controversy. Some in District 3 in particular felt that the demographics and differences in the Norwood / Wright’s Mesa community warranted a more lenient approach. Business closures, masks, social distancing – all the best practices, at times have been questioned (with the exception of handwashing!).
The BOCC and Public Health maintained that a consistent approach throughout the county was essential to stop the spread. Some in District 3 felt we weren’t doing enough and pushed for a county-wide mask ordinance. Some felt we were doing too much and wanted fewer regulations. I brought these voices to our meetings (daily meetings for some time). Being heard, does not necessarily mean getting one’s way. The BOCC remained steadfast in its approach of treating the entire county equally.
We’re still in the midst of this pandemic with an uncertain future. Each of us commissioners is fully aware of that the economic and mental health challenges of the pandemic are just as challenging as the disease prevention challenges. I pledge to continue to bring the different voices to the table – and to continue to value each and every citizen’s life as we face an uncertain path forward with this unseen enemy.